The Department of Electrical Engineering offers an integrated BS/MS program to provide our students with a flexible and efficient way to obtain both a bachelor’s and master’s degree as part of a single program.
The Integrated Bachelors/Masters degree offers several advantages to qualified students.
- They can get a MS degree seamlessly, knowing that the advanced courses they will be taking have been designed to have the exact prerequisites they have taken as undergraduates.
- They do not have to move to a new place for their MS program, but instead continue to be in an institution and city they already know, increasing efficiency.
- They can take graduate classes in their senior year, and have them count towards the MS degree. Spreading out MS requirements over a longer period can increase flexibility and options for program depth and breadth.
- They can count up to 6 points of 4000-level technical electives taken in fulfillment of the BS requirements towards the MS degree.
- They can count summer projects for research credit taken immediately after the senior year towards the MS degree, provided they can find a suitable advisor willing to supervise the work.
- A very simple application process has been established for this program.
- EE juniors with a Columbia GPA of at least 3.400 can complete and submit a simple single-page on-line application using the link at the bottom of this page.
- Three faculty members from Columbia who are willing to act as references should be listed on the form, but do not need to be asked by the applicant to write letters; the Department will contact them.
- No submission of transcript is required; the Department will obtain the transcript.
- No GRE is required.
- No TOEFL is required of foreign students.
- No application fee is required.
- The deadline for submission is April 30 of the junior year. Students will be notified of a decision within about a month.
Awarding of BS and MS degrees
BS and MS requirements must be satisfied separately before the corresponding degree is awarded. Students can receive their BS degree as soon as they have satisfied the BS requirements, and the BS degree must be awarded at least one semester before the MS degree. Most students completing the program so far have chosen to get their BS degree after their fourth (senior) year.
Continuing beyond the MS degree
If an integrated BS/MS student later decides to apply for admission to the PhD programs at Columbia, they will have to satisfy all admission requirements for those programs, including the GRE. Integrated BS/MS students who might want to do this should consider taking the GRE during their fourth year.
Caution for Combined-Plan students
Combined-plan students are required to finish their BS requirements within two years, i.e., at the end of their senior year, as part of the combined-plan program. That rule still applies to combined-plan students who are admitted into the Integrated BS/MS program.
Caution concerning undergraduate financial aid and housing
Some types of financial aid may apply only as long as a student is an undergraduate, and may be rendered invalid if MS coursework is taken or graduate-student standing is obtained before the awarding of a BS degree. Students considering this program should check carefully with their funding organizations if this might be an issue.
Undergraduate housing and financial aid is not provided beyond what would normally be the senior year of undergraduate studies. Beyond the fourth year, standard graduate tuition rates apply. In the past, some students in the program have worked as course lab assistants or graders to help cover some of the costs of their fifth year, although the availability of such positions cannot be guaranteed.
Integrated BS/MS Program versus Express MS Application
The Integrated BS/MS program is sometimes confused with the Express MS Application because the application forms are similar, and both involve continuing on to get a MS degree at Columbia. But Express MS is just a simplified, early MS application process for qualified seniors. The Integrated BS/MS is a different program, merging the BS and MS degrees, and the application for the program must be completed in the junior year.
The Integrated BS/MS program offers greater flexibility to schedule courses so as to complete prerequisites for advanced study. To take advantage of this, students must enter the program before the senior year. Therefore, the Integrated BS/MS program is only open to juniors.
There is no change in the credit hour requirements for either degree for students admitted to the MS program through the Express application process. In the Integrated BS/MS program, however, up to 6 points of courses can count twice, once for the BS and once for the MS.